What to do if you are not happy with the tummy tuck surgery results

A short answer to the question in the title would be “contact your plastic surgeon” or “get a second opinion from a different plastic surgeon.” However, things are not as simple as they appear. The results of plastic surgery are not always what the patient expected to see. Some patients may have been deceived by the plastic surgeon and decided upon a procedure that wasn’t able to deliver the results they expected. Others didn’t have a satisfactory result because they didn’t follow the recommendations of the surgeon for after surgery care. There are many reasons why you might not be happy with the results of your tummy tuck. To know what you need to do, we need to discuss all the details.

Tummy tuck surgery expectations

It is very important for the patient to know exactly what he can expect from the surgery and how the procedure is performed. A mini tummy tuck can take from one or two hours, while a full tummy tuck usually lasts two to five hours, if not longer.

In most cases, patients that are not satisfied with the results of their procedure had unrealistic expectations before surgery. There are still plastic surgeons who advertise the tummy tuck surgery as a weight loss method, and this can create unreasonable expectations for patients that will be disappointed with the results after the surgery.

The tummy tuck is not a weight loss method. It was never meant to be a treatment for obesity and should never be used as such. The tummy tuck can only target the abdominal area, and the best results are achieved when the patient has a close to normal weight that has been constant for at least six months.

If you thought that you would lose up to 30 kg just by undergoing the tummy tuck, there is not much that another plastic surgeon can do for you. A responsible plastic surgeon will advise you to try a weight loss program, a diet or exercise routine, and even bariatric surgery to achieve the weight that you desire. Only then can you schedule another tummy tuck to correct the imperfections still left on the abdominal area. A revision surgery before dropping all the weight is not recommended as the abdomen will be impacted by the weight loss and the results of the surgery will be compromised again.

Incisions for the tummy tuck surgery

While the placement of the incisions is decided so they can be masked by the natural folds of the body, the scars left after abdominoplasty are impossible to avoid and are permanent. The incisions are mandatory to remove the excess skin and to strengthen the abdominal muscles.

The types of incisions are different depending the type of tummy tuck performed. For a mini tummy tuck, the incision is shorter compared to a full tummy tuck where the incision goes from hip to hip. The patient will also have a scar around the navel from repositioning it after the skin and tissues are pulled down and excised. The scar around the navel can be different in terms of shape, depending on the preference of the patient and the technique and the experience of the plastic surgeon.

After the tummy tuck, some patients might not be happy with the size of the scar while others won’t be happy with its reddish aspect. When it comes to the length of the scar, it is dependent on the amount of skin to be removed. The plastic surgeon can’t use a 5 cm long incision to cut down a significant amount of skin and fat tissue. The larger the amount of tissue to be excised, the larger the incision will be. It can take up to one year for the scar to mature and heal completely. If your scar is still red and a bit swelled after a month from the surgery date, no need to worry. What you can do is get in touch with the plastic surgeon and ask for his recommendation in terms of silicone sheeting and other methods you can use to ensure a nice healing of the scars.

Following your plastic surgeon’s recommendations to the letter can lead to the nice healing of the scar with minimal risks involved. However, nice scars are not always possible. Delayed wound healing or keloid scars can occur despite the talent of the surgeon and your ability to follow the rules. In this case, contact your plastic surgeon for an optimal scar treatment.

Removal of excess skin

During a tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will lift the skin on the belly and pull it towards the ribs while suturing loose abdominal muscles. The skin will then be pulled towards the pubic area and the excess fat removed before suturing the incision site, making your abdomen flatter and smoother. In some cases, the patient might even get rid of some stretch marks, especially if they are located under the navel on the lower part of the abdomen.

Does this mean that your stomach will be completely fat-free? The answer is no. Your abdominal area will be greatly improved after surgery, but when you bend forward, sit or stand in certain position, there will be a minor amount of sagging skin or a visible fold. This is the case for everyone and it does not mean that the surgery was not successful. If the patient is unhappy with this result, the only method to improve this and make the skin look better is to tone it with physical exercise.

However, it is also a possibility that your plastic surgeon didn’t excise all the excess skin. If you feel this is the case and the sagginess is noticeable, you should get in touch with another plastic surgeon and ask for his professional opinion. Revision surgery might be necessary and recommended for you.

Aesthetic imperfections and asymmetries after a tummy tuck

If you haven’t chosen your plastic surgeon carefully, you might end up with unsatisfactory results such as abdominal asymmetries. If this is the case, you should know that you can ask for a second opinion and schedule a revision surgery with a different plastic surgeon to correct the imperfections. Keep in mind that you have to wait at least six months to one year before scheduling your revision surgery. Your body needs time to heal after what is considered one of the most complex interventions in plastic surgery. The final results of the initial tummy tuck can take nine months to one year to be fully visible.

There are patients who come in a few months after having a tummy tuck with a different surgeon because they were not pleased by rectangular shape that they were left with after the tummy tuck intervention.

It is important to know that this square shape is a usual result of the traditional tummy tuck surgery. The plastic surgeon is not concerned with the waist or hips, just the abdominal area. If you are not happy with this square shape after undergoing a tummy tuck, you should know that for beautiful curves and a superior result, the hourglass tummy tuck is the recommended procedure. During the hourglass tummy tuck, liposuction is performed to accentuate the results of the tummy tuck and the fat is then transferred to the hips to create a better waist-to-hip ratio. It is only by using this method that the patient can achieve beautiful curves to compliment a flatter and firmer abdominal area.

Conclusion

The tummy tuck is an extremely efficient method to contour the body and achieve a flat and firm abdominal area, but it is not a weight loss method and it comes with no guarantees that the results will be maintained permanently. In theory, the results of the tummy tuck can last for years and even forever, but this means that the patient has to maintain a constant weight and exercise regularly.

There are many reasons why patients might not be happy with the results of their intervention, such as being left with abdominal asymmetries, unrealistic expectations from the surgery, and the appearance of the incisions.

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